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“Terrific time!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic   |  
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Special Offer
Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #41 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Terrific time!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

We were a family group of six, and loved the Riu Palace. Lovely resort, well appointed rooms, friendly staff, beautiful beach, good food. And with the Animacion staff on hand, there was never a dull moment - as a participant or simply watching. The evening entertainment was good as well, but we thought the nightly awards portion was too long. Live music was great for polishing off those dancing shoes. The first room we were given had a view of a white roof so we upgraded; a little expensive but worth it. My sisters arrived the next day but the reception failed to put us close by which was a bummer, but all things considered, it worked out OK.
We did the zipline tour; a bit scary but the guys are professional and safety was their priority. The hobey-cat next door was fun but we found out later that outfit was for the Iberostar guests - we could not get a straight answer from the guys on the Riu side. And we speak Spanish! Management needs to look into this if that's indeed a free service. Tandem parasailing was awesome and at a reasonable priced compared to Cancun.
I did not try out the spa but my husband and sisters loved the aromatic massages. The casino was extremely smokey and the vouchers were not a good deal. We stayed about 10 minutes.
Our favorite specialty restaurant was the steakhouse. I would not recommend the Japanese restaurant but others liked it. The restaurant billed as a tapas did not serve tapas. ?? We recommend setting up a better system for reservations - requiring a signup at 8AM rushed our breakfast and the lines were long unless you arrived at 7:30.
We loved that there was a separate play area and pool for the kids. And I'm sure parents appreciated there was a young lady that watched over them and gave them activities to do.
We usually go into town to explore the local fare but we were warned that was not a good idea. We've heard since returning that it's safe so not sure if this was a ploy to keep us on the resort. Then again, we had everything there including several shops on Caribe [?] Street so all was fine.
We would definitely consider returning to this resort. But next time we will venture out.
Oh and yes, tip if service is good. It's much appreciated and won't break the bank.
Always, always, make time for family, and vacation!

Room Tip: Check it out before you unpack! We upgraded to 3055 which was quiet, had a great view of the grounds...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (412)
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English first
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013 via mobile

Perfect holiday from start to finish, the hotel is as clean as a whistle,rooms cleaned twice a day and turn down service at night, the staff are amazing they can not do enough for you,they can speak enough English to get by,but hey your in their country a few basic words in Spanish goes a long way. Food is incredible, plenty of choice even for a picky eater and you can eat and drink, if so desired for 24 hours a day.Entertainment staff work so hard and will not push you if you do not want to join in but they still greet you every day and night with a big smile and handshake
Please do not listen to the negatives, I saw 1 cockroach whilst I was there (who was quickly dispatched) Heard one person saying that the ocean had a lot of people in it! How big do they want the Atlantic to be? and heard one person moaning that there was too much sun on the beach! Well you can't please em all!
If you have booked from the UK with Thompsons please be aware that the Rep for them at this hotel is useless only wants to sell you excursions, gives you no other information,can never be found and never even bothered to give pick up times for departure.
All in all one of the best hotels and holidays we have had, well done ALL the staff at Riu Bavaro

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Pennsylvania
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

I just came back from the RIU Palace Bavaro with my husband. It was a beautiful resort situated on the nicest stretch of beach in Punta Cana. Let me give you a breakdown of my experience good and bad.
ARRIVAL
Welcome drinks were served on lipstick stained glasses, at least 3 of the 5 drinks on the tray. This put a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended), right off the bat. I did speak to the front desk manager about it. He did not seem too concerned. He gave me a patronizing grin and stated he would speak to the bar manager. That said I never encountered a dirty glass throughout our stay again.
ROOM
Extremely clean! I have never had such a clean hotel room ever. Our housekeeper Maria made everything extra special and was one of the best things about our trip. Rooms were a little worn for being such a new resort though.
MEALS
The al a carte restaraunts are near impossible to get into we were only given the option of Italian (I do not know why) and most al a cate restaraunts required a 3 day prior reservation made in the am hours. We opted for the buffet. The food was average. Service was good and our server Yocasta was excellent, she even asked us about our stay and our room which is more than I can say about any of the front desk staff.
POOL
Plenty of chairs and well maintained pool. Service at the pool was not the best some servers were nice and others seemed robotic. There is a swim up bar but it is a separate smaller pool with little lounge areas. Coincidentally it was packed with children.
SPA
I was quoted $35 USD via phone for a pedicure which I found to be a great deal especially because there was a $15 coupon, but when I got there they stated my price was $45 after the coupon. I let the rep know I was quoted $35 but she insisted it was $60 but $45 after the coupon. Turns out there is a $35 pedi (they have a website) but she did not offer that to me she only offered the spa pedi. I did decide to go ahead with it and it was a great pedi however it was a bit awkward as my Spanish is not at a conversational level and it was pretty quiet as the tech did not speak much English. This was not too big a deal as I do realize I was in another country.
The weather was beautiful and the beach fantastic. I hope you find my review helpful.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

My nieces and I stayed at the Riu Palace Bavaro all-inclusive resort from July 28th - Aug. 1st. We just loved it! We really did not want to leave. The resort is beautiful and well maintained. The rooms are well appointed in modern style. Since it is not safe to drink DR water, it was nice the hotel provided bottled water free of charge. Even the liquor and soft drinks in the room and refrigerator were all included which is a rarity in all-inclusive. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. They speak little english so it is best if you know the minimal conversational spanish. It will definitely go a long way. The food was very good. They had a different variety with a few same daily entrees during our stay. The fresh fruit was amazing. It was so fresh that it seemed they just picked it off the trees, especially the mangoes, they were so sweet. I believe they make their juices from real fruit and they were really good and tasty. The entertainment staff did a fine job of entertaining everyone. They had nightly shows that were not bad. The beach was absolutely gorgeous. There were a few seaweed on the beach but nothing to get bent out of shape about. I loved that there were palm trees on the beach so you did not need umbrellas. The water is just breathtaking. I give the beach a 2nd spot after the Cancun beaches. The water activities were ok. I wish they had jet skiing but it is not offered on that side of the island. The spa was very good. I got a massage which was very nice. My nieces got facials and said they have gotten better facials in the US. I really want to give the resort a "very good and a half" rating but it is not an option. I would have given it an "excellent" rating if they offered better water sports and the spa treatments were top notch. All in all, I had a fantastic time at the resort and will go back again to the same resort. Also, I would recommend this resort to families, couples and friends who just want to hang out and chill.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the courtyard and pool/beach are further from the elevator and you get a nice view.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitchurch, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

The hotel is stunning and situated directly on the white tropical sands - you couldn't wish for a better location.
The main pool is not

You cannot fault the cleanliness of the hotel. Staff are generally friendly although the service is very slow unless tips are forthcoming (they will favour American guests for this reason). The food is generally good but if you are expecting a large lobster think again. The lobster served in the Steak house (surf & turf) is very small (more like Crevettes) - in the UK they would need to be put back into the sea (especially the females carrying eggs - which were served to us without a second thought!).

The entertainment as usual doesn't start untill 9.00 (for the kids) and the 'shows' for the adults follow this.

We were unable to upgrade as we were travelling with our teenage son - only over 18's can be upgraded even though the hotel was not full.

One thing to note is that although the hotel will exchange money/travellers cheques - they will only exchange for Dominican Pesos which is fine unless you want to use the Sports Bar where the machines that issue tokens for the pool table etc only take Dollars! The rep will exchange Pesos into Dollars but you loose out on the exchange rate again. The best exchange rate is for UK Stirling at the moment (August 2013), followed by Dollars.

Certainly not the best 'Palace' hotel we have been to, but that will not stop us using Riu hotels in the future.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

My Husband and I stayed at this hotel in May. Cancun airport is very easy to navigate but make sure if you have a tour company to simply say no thank you to everyone else. I normally just pull my own luggage as if anyone even touches your luggage you are expected to give a nice tip and then when you meet your tour operator they will expect one as well. We always travel through Liberty Travel and the tour operator in Dominican Republic is Preito Tours. I have to say that this time I was disappointed with their service because we had to wait a long time to have a shuttle to our hotel. They changed vans on us 3 times and that made it hard to keep track of our luggage. Finally we arrived at our hotel. This hotel is very modern compared to everywhere else I have stayed. I actually really enjoyed the decor as it was different and more interesting but I enjoy the more vibrant colors.
When we checked in we were told if we do not like our room we could exchange it the next day. We paid premium price for an ocean view room and we did not get this. We got a corner room with a view of the hammocks in the middle of the resort and the back view was of the hotel pool next door with very loud music playing in the background. I immediately went down to the desk and asked them for a room change. We were moved to a courtyard room with a lovely view of the lobby and ocean. We noticed that we were missing one of our carry on's and the bellman had actually put that piece in someone elses room but he quickly retrieved it. Make sure to watch your luggage at all times. This is the second time this happened to us and in Puerto Vallarta I was not that lucky and never got my carry on back.
The food at this hotel was not very good but it was better than other hotels I have stayed at in Dominican Republic. Make no mistake about coming here for a culinary experience. We only visit Dominican Republic for the fantastic beaches. We know we are not going to really like the food here. It is very difficult to meet all of your expectations at all inclusive resorts so if you go with this in mind you will be fine. The food is still good enough but you have to be flexible and maybe eat a bit differently while you are here. My Husband and I both became ill a few times. This was the only time this has happened to me in Domincan Republic. Make sure to take lots of Pepto Bismol. I feel it was from the margarita's at the pool bar. If you get drinks at the pool bar anywhere you take the risk of items being rinsed with bad water.
The entertainment was really good some nights and really bad others. We just went for the fun and drinks.
Make sure to take rafts they do not supply them.
Make sure to take plenty of sunscreen as it is $27.00 US at the hotel and there is no shopping anywhere near.
The best part of this hotel was the rooms, the jet tub was fabulous. There were not a lot of TV channels.
The coffee bar in the lobby was the best, make sure to get the iced coffee. It is actually coffee poured over vanilla ice cream and it was fabulous.
The best tour to take here is the Island of Sanoa. This was my second trip there and it was fantastic. You will have the best food on this island that you will have all week long.
It is a very romantic place so go an enjoy!!!

Room Tip: Make sure to get a courtyard room. The only thing is you will hear people at night no matter what r...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013 via mobile

Me and my girlfriend booked the Riu for July 29th- Aug 5th. The trip was for my 23rd Birthday. We had three months to prepare and read the reviews on Trip Advisor EVERY night. I must say any negative reviews are absurd and must come from very snobbish people. Check in was easy, we upgraded our room to an Ocean view as soon as we got there. The guys at the front desk do understand English and anyone complaning about them not speaking english is a fool because its their country and they speak spanish there duh! We made the most of it and still connected with many of the employees. The snack bar had great variety, as did the main dinner resturant. The breakfast was outstanding as well and Jonathan was amazing! They really cater to you and make you feel welcome. We did a ton of excursions. We went snorkling with sharks/stingrays. We also went on the doon boogies excursion, the Ocean spa excursion(not worth it). The drinks were great and Elise at the Bar was a doll. They work 11 days and then are off 3 days so they really work hard and are grateful for tips. We brought plenty because they have families too. The beach was like no other and we went para-sailing over the water, absolutely amazing. Sexy Cocoa and Sexy Bon-Bon always had entertainment going on. The spa was amazing. We had the moonlight massage and the women at the spa desk helped me to surprise my girlfriend with spa treatment everytime. We also had the Body scrub and 60 min massage. Most amazing time ive ever had. We plan on coming back when we have children one day. Next up is the Riu in Jamaica!!!! Enjoy, it truly is worth every penny!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

Address: Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #41 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
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